At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper stickers that say “Coexist”. I don’t think there is more misunderstood bumper sticker on the face of the planet than the “Coexist” sticker. I take that back.
I take that back.
I don’t think it’s the sticker that’s confused.
I think the drivers of the cars don’t fully understand what they are suggesting.
I totally understand the mindset behind this. They just want people to get along. Especially people of different religions. But what they aren’t displaying is an understanding of these religions and why they can’t coexist.
This has become even more apparent in our culture since the recent shootings in Orlando Florida where an armed Muslim put into full practice the tenants of his faith, walked into a gay club called “Pulse” and mowed down in cold blood 49 people, and left 50+ more people wounded and in the hospital.
The immediate reaction that we saw in the news was to not vilify Islam and Muslims. The immediate reaction was to call for peace and coexistence amongst religions. I watched as atheists, agnostics, and even Christians begin to take to Facebook to either blame religion or defend other members of the Muslim faith who they perceived to not be as “radical” as this guy or ISIS or any other terrorist organization.
I also watched as Christians, and atheists, and Jews, and other religions alike call for others to weep with the friends and families of those who were slain in this tragedy. And still others called this tragedy a great thing and a judgment of God on the LGBT community for their sin.
In light of all of this we have to ask this question….is coexistence between religions and opposing worldviews even possible?
And I think that partially depends on how we define “Coexistence”.
Can I live with, work with, play with, talk with, eat a meal with, grieve with, and even be close friends with someone who is in another religion or hold to another worldview?
Yes. And this is certainly a form of “Coexistence”.
Can I tolerate, accept, condone, allow myself to be influenced by, and live as though all religions and worldviews are equal and all religions and worldviews are truth?
No. So in light of that, I cannot reasonably “Coexist” with other religions and worldviews.
You see, I’m pretty sure (based on observation) that most people that roll around with the “Coexist” sticker on the bumper of their car or window are suggesting that all religions and worldviews are the same or at least equal and that ultimately they all point the person in the same direction using different paths to get there.
Therefore, we should be able to coexist. Right?
But all one has to do is look at the different beliefs, practices, and end goals of the faiths and worldviews in this world to know that they are not all the same or equal, nor are they all working toward the same goal. The issue is, these “Coexisters” just don’t realize that what they are suggesting is simply not true or doable.
But what is truth in today’s culture?
Our culture is so inundated with relativism that we willingly suggest that what is true for one person must be true, even though it’s not true for me. But this is a logical fallacy. Two opposing truths cannot both be true.
Sure there are times and places where relativism is true…for instance: I could consider a specific person tall. But someone who is taller than that person could consider them small. So the idea of tall is relative to our personal perspective.
But this is not the kind of truth we are talking about.
The kind of truth we are talking about is “Shiva is real but God is not” versus “God is real but Shiva is not”. We are talking about “abortion is murder” versus “abortion is healthcare”. We’re talking about moral, spiritual, and philosophical truths that have suddenly been rammed into this category of “relativism” mostly out of the desire of wanting to “Coexist” and not “offend anyone” without really understanding that two opposing worldviews cannot both be right, nor can they get along or “Coexist”.
We are seeing this today.
We are witnessing a full-blown clash of worldviews in a world that suggests that our worldviews should be tolerant of other worldviews. But this won’t work. When my worldview says that aborting unborn babies is an act of murder, and another worldview says aborting unborn lumps of flesh is simply partaking in health care….we cannot coexist.
When my worldview says that marriage is meant only to be between one man and one woman, and another worldview says marriage can be whatever we define it to be….we cannot coexist.
When my worldview says that we should love our enemies, and press on to the next stop if someone rejects the gospel, and another worldview says that anyone who rejects their faith should be murdered, enslaved, or imprisoned….we cannot coexist.
And while it is nice to think about how we should all just get along and coexist together despite our differences…our differences are worlds apart, and in some cases, our differences can very literally be the deciding factor between life or death.
As a Christian, I am called to live peaceably with those around me (in as much as possible – Romans 12:18)…even with those who oppose my worldview and the truth found in the pages of God’s Word (the Bible).
But the reality is, we live in a day and age where living in peace with everyone is becoming increasingly more difficult, especially as the pseudo-tolerance crowd begins to show their true colors, and as opposing worldviews begin to clash more and more with one another in the public arena.
Where do we go from here?
I’m a Christian and I lean toward an optimistic view of the future because I believe God is in control, and that we are on an ever increasing path upward toward a victory here on earth as it is in heaven.
I believe it was said best in an article by Gary DeMar titled, “The End Times and the Islamic AntiChrist” when he said:
The newspaper and news sources in general [sic] can be depressing reading these days. No matter who wins the next election, America and the world are in for uncertain times. Instead of ruminating over the negative possibilities, Christians should see all of what will be coming as opportunities. It was in uncertain times that Jesus entered the world. Israel was a captive nation with no political power. The church was birthed when Rome controlled nations from Great Britain to the northern coast of Africa and everything in between. The newly formed Church went about doing its job to bring the gospel to the nations. In time, Rome collapsed under its own fragile moral center, and the Church expanded, setting the moral agenda for the then-known world that is still impacting our world.
It is time for the sleeping church to awaken.
It is time to engage our culture head-long.
It is time for us to stop living in this Platonic dualistic worldview that pretends as if our physical world and our spiritual world are two separate entities that should never cross paths.
At one point in history, the Church was what set the spiritual and cultural temperature for almost the entire world. Not because we seek domination. But because we know the Truth and the Truth will set all men (people) free.
It is only at that point where we can all truly “Coexist”.